Tracking a trending scent

January 16, 2023By Behind the Shelf Blog

By Colleen Volheim, HRG category research and analysis manager and Megan Moyer, HRG corporate marketing manager

Skin care is a very fluid category. By that I mean, there is constant change happening. Sure, there are the brands and products that you could label legacy products – those that aren’t altered much year to year, but even those get formula and package updates now and then. Those legacy products may be the anchor of a product line that ebbs and flows. Offshoot products in different scents or to address specific conditions may come and go or see more fluctuation in attributes, such as sizes available, forms, or packaging facelifts.

To stay competitive in the category, you have to embrace change. You must stay atop of trends and be prepared to apply them to your products as appropriate. That might mean figuring out how to include a particular ingredient, modify the form, or try new scents.

Colleen Volheim, manager of category research and analysis at HRG, looked at a particular trending scent in skin care that has stood the test of time: lavender.

Percent of lavender skin launches over timeManufacturers have consistently launched skin care products scented with lavender over the past seven years. 2022 was no exception, even with fewer new items being launched in the market overall.

The top two subcategories with lavender-scented products that are still active in the marketplace over this seven-year period are hand & body cleansing with nearly 55% of the products and bath products with just over 20% of the products.

Percent of lavender skin products still active

Over time, consumers experience fatigue of scents, especially within the beauty categories of skin and hair care. Manufacturers often respond to this by discontinuing products and launching new ones. When scents are successful, manufacturers may expand the products that utilize that scent.

This chart demonstrates this clearly and illustrates the percent of lavender-scented products launched each year of this analysis and the percentage of products which are still active today.

Top lavender new item brands independent pharmacy Top lavender new item brands MULO

Within the skin care category, of the new item launches still active over a seven-year time-period (2015-2022), across the chain drug, community pharmacy, and multi-outlet channels, HRG identified the leading brands in each channel and the difference among them. Percent unit sales was used as the performance measurement in each channel.

The performance leading brand within MULO and community pharmacy is Dr. Teal’s; however, in chain drug, the brand is second in performance, with Dove as the leading brand. It is also interesting to note that these two brands – Dr. Teal’s and Dove – are the only brands that show up in multiple channels, unlike Dial which only appears in community pharmacy, and Burt’s Bees which is only appearing in the analysis of chain drug.

The lavender scent seems to have staying power in skin care. To many, the scent is calming and soothing, and it has been said it has properties to comfort common skin conditions. Lavender is a scent that has lasted beyond what a typical trend might, making it more of a safe bet.

Source: HRG’s Tri-PAC™ Data and IRi Chain Drug, ending 7/31/22